Cautionary Insights into Lawsuits Against Physicians

Cautionary Insights into Lawsuits Against Physicians

Urgent care providers were not named among those most likely to be sued in Medscape’s recent Malpractice Report 2017, but a look at the research is likely to offer some insights that could help them lower their risk for landing in court. “Failure to diagnose/delayed diagnosis” was the reason for 31% of the lawsuits against physicians in the survey—the most prevalent among all causes mentioned. “Complications from treatment/surgery” was the second-most common answer (27%). Procedural …

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‘Defensive Medicine’ May Actually Lower Malpractice Risk

‘Defensive Medicine’ May Actually Lower Malpractice Risk

Findings of a new study seem to support the notion that “defensive medicine”—eg, ordering tests even when not specifically indicated clinically—may offer some degree of protection to urgent care centers and other medical facilities. The study, authored by a team from Harvard Medical School led by Anupam B. Jena, MD, PhD, found an inverse association between spending and probability of a malpractice claim. In other words, employing greater resources reduced the risk of a malpractice …

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Malpractice Trends in Urgent Care and Retail Medicine

JOHN SHUFELDT, MD, JD, MBA, FACEP with ANDREW SNIEGOWSKI, RN, JD CANDIDATE 2014 Over the last 6 years I have written a number of articles on medical malpractice in urgent care medicine. The good news is that I am seeing fewer cases despite the fact that there are more urgent care centers and more patient visits. The bad news is that I am still seeing the same fact patterns time and again. Failure to diagnose …

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The New Normal of Medical Malpractice and How We Are Making it Worse

JOHN SHUFELDT, MD, JD, MBA, FACEP I am tangentially involved in a medical malpractice suit in which the physician in question complied completely with the standard of care. Her documentation was great, her care exceptional, there was no discrepancy between her charting and the nurses’ charting, the doctor-to-doctor hand-off went well, and she communicated with the patient and family. Unfortunately, the ultimate patient outcome was horrible. In the aftermath, the physician was named in a …

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A Better Way to Settle Malpractice Suits?

A Better Way to Settle Malpractice Suits?

Urgent message: Mediation could produce better outcomes than litigation for patients and physicians—if doctors would only show up. CAROL B. LIEBMAN, JD Introduction A stomach pain is misdiagnosed as viral gastroenteritis. The patient ends up in the hospital for six days with complications from a ruptured appendix. A physician prescribes penicillin to a woman with clearly documented allergies, which leads to anaphylaxis and a day in the ICU. A severe headache is labeled a migraine; …

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How to Get Sued for Malpractice: Four Studies In Self-Destruction

JOHN SHUFELDT, MD, JD, MBA, FACEP In the past, I have written about how to avoid getting named in a medical malpractice action. But it can often be instructive to view things from the opposite perspective. So this time, let’s turn it around and actually try to get named in a malpractice suit. It usually only takes one of the following misadventures: Practice bad medicine and have a bad outcome Practice good medicine, communicate/document poorly, …

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Malpractice Insurance: A Primer for Urgent Care Clinicians

JOHN SHUFELDT, MD, JD, MBA, FACEP The possibility of being sued for medical malpractice, while not a pleasant prospect, is not something that should be causing you sleepless nights. Much like flood insurance, malpractice insurance exists for times when an unexpected event occurs and may require some payment for damages. Your goal should simply be to have adequate coverage for those times. And, let’s face it, there may be such times. Good providers do get …

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A Short Course in Tort

John Shufeldt, MD, JD, MBA, FACEP I just completed teaching a semester of Health Law and Ethics at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. Over the next few months in this column, my goal is to distill te 40-hour course down to a few pages chock full of practical legal information. Lesson 1: Torts A tort is a civil wrong committed against a person or property interest for which the court …

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Overview of a Malpractice Trial (and How to Survive)

JOHN SHUFELDT, MD, JD, MBA, FACEP It’s game day. The trial begins today and your fate will be decided by a jury of your “peers.” Never mind the fact that none of them are physicians, only three have been to college, and two did not even graduate from high school; in the eyes of the law, they are your peers and will be the ones to decide if your care met the standard of care. …

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